Content by Wildernet
This trail leads from Twin Owls Trailhead north of Estes Park, to Gem Lake, cradled high among the rounded granite domes of Lumpy Ridge. It is a good year-round hike.

The shallow waters of Gem Lake are cradled high among the rounded granite domes of Lumpy Ridge. Untouched by glaciation, this outcrop of 1.8 billion year-old granite has been sculpted by wind and chemical erosion into a backbone-like ridge. Signs of these erosional forces - pillars, potholes, and balanced rocks - appear midway along the trail to Gem Lake. Other highlights include spectacular views of the Estes Valley and Continental Divide, and a curious balanced rock called Paul Bunyan's Boot.

Directions: From Estes Park, Drive north on MacGregor Avenue. Cross the Hwy 34 bypass and continue to a sharp right turn and sign for MacGregor Ranch. Follow the blacktop ranch road to the parking area.

Elevation: 7,660 feet

Ending Elevation: 8,800 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,140 feet

Distance: 1.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

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Expert Review of Gem Lake Trail

Active and Adventure Review of Gem Lake Trail

Away Travel Expert: Kim Lipker
expert favorite Active Expert Favorite
ActiveExpert Rating 5.0 out of 5 Recommended for:
Day Hiking
Active and AdventureExpert Tips & Helpful Hints
  • This trail is outside the main entrances of Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • This trail is a lake hike with moderate uphill.

Access: Twin Owls Trailhead
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Visitor Information

Transportation: Access: Twin Owls Trailhead. Or 2 miles one-way. Moderate. Access: Gem Lake Trailhead. Both trail heads are off Devil's Gulch Rd., north of Estes Park. Twin Owls Trailhead is inside MacGregor Ranch (turn in at the ranch and go 3/4 miles to the end of the road). Gem Lake Trailhead is 3/4 miles past the turnoff into the ranch, at a parking lot on the left side of the road; the 1st 1/2 mile here is through private land
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.